Monday, March 28, 2005

"Catechism of the Locomotive"

I hope someone out there can help me. I was recently given a copy of an old book titled "Catechism of the Locomotive" or "Catechism of Locomotives". The author listed on the spine is M. Forney.

All of the copyright information is apparently missing. Therefore I cannot find copyright date, publisher, or any other information regarding its origins. The preface of the book is intact and has the following address listed at the end of the preface; #73 Broadway NY,NY.

I would appreciate any information that I can get re this book.

Thanks,

Art Camburn


... there were many editions. Our copy is "Catechism of the Locomotive by Forney, Matthias N. The Railroad Gazette New York. 1883 Three folding plates before title page. 609 pgs. 20 pgs. of ads."


Matthias N. Forney's "Catechism of the Locomotive" was the premier text of the period, and went through several editions and numerous printings (with minor revisions) starting in 1874 and running through the 1890s. The earlier edition (copyright 1874) is slightly smaller - mine (published in 1875, 5th thousand) measures about 5 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches high. My revised and enlarged Second Edition (copyright 1887, forward dated 1889, spine labeled as the Revised 1890 Edition, mine published in 1891, 46th thousand) measures 6 inches wide by 8 1/2 inches high.

The preface for the earlier edition was from #73 Broadway, NY. The preface for the later edition was from #145 Broadway, NY. Sounds like you have a copy of the earlier edition, published sometime between 1874 and the late 1880s, reprinted with small modifications almost annually. It was published by the Railroad Gazette, of which Forney was editor. The Railroad Gazette's address (in both my editions) is #73 Broadway, NY.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum